'A soulless predator': Illinois man accused of sexual assault sentenced for murder-for-hire plots

An Ottawa man who was in custody for an alleged sexual assault was sentenced on Tuesday to 76 years in prison for two murder-for-hire plots.

Prosecutors say 44-year-old Christian Shepherd was behind bars, accused of a May 2010 sexual assault, when he attempted to hire another inmate to murder the victim he was charged with sexually assaulting, the victim's mother, and two detectives.

According to prosecutors, Shepherd gave the inmate a map to the home of one of his intended victims and a taunting statement for him to read to the intended victims. The inmate, though, shared the plan with police and then wore a wire which recorded Shepherd planning the murders.


After the first plan failed, prosecutors say Shepherd then attempted to hire a second inmate to kill the initial intended victims and the first inmate who turned on him.

However, the second inmate also told police about Shepherd's plans.

"Shepherd is a soulless predator who was willing to take the lives of five human beings in a heinous attempt to avoid accountability for his own abhorrent crimes," Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow said.

"We will never know what might have happened if both inmates Shepherd tried to hire had not miraculously come forward to the police. They were a divine intervention that derailed Shepherd’s plans for the slaughter of five people. His potential victims now live with a lost sense of safety and security from knowing they were targets in a murder plot. Shepherd is an insidious miscreant who deserves every single day he will be spending in a cold, dark prison cell."

A jury found Shepherd – a former school bus driver – guilty of the murder-for-hire plots in Nov. 2022. He will receive credit for 4,625 days served, and his sentence will be served at 85 percent, prosecutors said.

Shepherd will also serve three years of mandatory supervised release.